Honestly, I’d much prefer a pure party-line vote in which the GOP’s bid to block the deal goes down in flames rather than some excruciating Senate kabuki where they almost — but not quite — get enough Democratic votes to reach a two-thirds majority. If Chuck Schumer’s going to let his caucus force America to swallow this sh*t sandwich because it would be too embarrassing for poor Barack if they joined Republicans in stopping it, he should have the balls to vote with them. Instead we’re almost certainly going to be treated to a Democratic version of “failure theater,” where something like 12 Dems are freed to vote with the GOP knowing full well that that’ll leave McConnell just short of the 67 votes he needs to override Obama’s veto of a resolution of disapproval.
Remember, none of this would be possible if not for McConnell’s and Corker’s grand sellout of the Constitution’s Treaty Clause. Schumer and Reid should be scrambling right now to find 67 yays lest the deal fail. Instead McConnell’s trying to find 67 nays lest it succeed. And there aren’t many Democratic undecideds left to get after three more fencesitters announced today that they’re voting with Obama:
Today, three Democratic Senators came out for the Iran deal: Tim Kaine of Virginia, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Barbara Boxer of California. The math now looks increasingly difficult for the deal’s opponents…
Taken together, Nelson and Kaine are key because they reduce the size of the pool of Dems thought to be gettable by the opposition. The group of around eight or nine Democrats who backed the original oversight bill have long been seen as the most likely to oppose the accord. In addition to Nelson and Kaine, those include: Chuck Schumer, Heidi Heitkamp, Richard Blumenthal, Joe Donnelly, Michael Bennet, Robert Menendez (who has said he’ll vote No), and Angus King (an independent who caucuses with Dems).
Take Nelson and Kaine out of that pool, and you’re left with around seven Senate Dems who seem like they could genuinely still vote No (one, Menendez, is already a declared No). Seven others who are thought to be undecided, or at least who can’t be ruled out as No votes: Harry Reid, Chris Coons, Benjamin Cardin, Joe Manchin, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tom Carper. If all of them vote No, that’s 14 Senate Dems opposing the deal. Opponents need 13 in order to get 67 Senators to override Obama’s veto of a measure blocking the accord.
So McConnell needs 13 of those 14 to vote no to have any real shot of blocking the deal, one of whom is Harry Reid and two of whom, Carper and Manchin, are already leaning towards voting yes per Greg Sargent. Sargent allows that there may be a few others, like Bob Casey and Ron Wyden, who are also on the fence, but how likely is it that any Democrat apart from a stalwart hawk like Bob Menendez would feel so strongly about the deal that he’d be willing to side with the GOP on a very close vote where a single nay could be decisive? The only chance Republicans have of stopping this is with an avalanche of Democratic votes such that those breaking with Obama can share responsibility, and the only way that’s going to happen is if Schumer throws his full weight against the deal. He won’t. If he were going to do that, he’d have done it already to give Kaine, Nelson, Boxer and the rest pause before they committed.
So the deal is as good as done. Who cares what Americans think?
That’s some trendline, and it’s apparent even though the phrasing of YouGov’s question is a bit favorable towards the White House. Sanctions, after all, will certainly be lifted but whether Iran’s nuclear activity will be meaningfully “limited” depends on how thorough the agreement’s enforcement mechanisms are. Early indications are … not encouraging. Good work, Schumer.
Here’s Benjamin Netanyahu looking ahead to a new golden age in the Middle East in which every country in the region is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons.